Christianity Is Either Illegal Or Severely Restricted In 51 Different Countries

Faith Persecution

Faith persecution

What is the most persecuted religion in the world?  Have you ever thought about this question? Most people are not aware that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the entire world. It is illegal or severely restricted in 51 different countries.

Fundamentalist Muslim nations, fanatical Hindu countries and hardline Communist regimes are not shy about their hatred for Christianity.  Christians in the United States do not realize how easy they have had it. In many areas of the world following Christ means paying a very high price.  Too often that price is the life of a Christian believer.

For example, Iran’s parliament has passed a new law which makes it illegal for a Muslim to become a Christian, and that any Muslim that does become a Christian must be executed.

What would you do if you had to choose your faith in Christ or execution?

In many areas of India, Christians who try to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ are regularly attacked by Hindu extremists.

The following is a recent example of this persecution that was emailed to us by The Voice Of The Martyrs:


On April 25, Pastor Mohan Babu and two other believers were severely beaten by 35 Hindu extremists for holding a Vacation Bible School (VBS) near Bangalore City, in Karnataka State. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in India, the three-day VBS was organized by Ragigudda Baptist Church. VOM sources said, “Around 60 children from different backgrounds were attending the VBS. As they were worshiping, about 35 people belonging to a Hindu extremist group forcefully entered the hut chanting slogans and demolished the hut. The extremists mercilessly beat Mohan, Samuel and Krishna, alleging forceful conversion. The perpetrators chased the children without any courtesy and tore the Bibles. Mohan was severely injured on his lips and was profusely bleeding. The believers are living in fear and did not lodge complaint with the police.” Pray for healing for all those injured in this attack. Pray they forgive their attackers and for the children who were attending VBS to continue growing in their faith despite the attack.


Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians in India has gotten worse as 4 more churches in eastern India have been burned to the ground and thousands of Christians have been driven from their homes.

But it is not just in a few areas where Christians are persecuted. It is truly a worldwide phenomenon…..

* It has been estimated that more Christians were martyred in the 20th Century than in the previous 1,900 years combined.

* There were more than 26 million documented cases of martyrdom in the 20th century alone.

* More than 200 million Christians in over 60 nations face persecution each day, and it is estimated that over half of these are children.

* It is estimated that between 150,000 and 165,000 Christians are martyred each year.

The following is a partial list of countries where Christians are currently being persecuted:

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Widespread persecution of church leaders and members, especially those in unregistered (underground) churches, which may represent as many as 100 million believers.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
Militant Muslims have waged periodic Jihad (‘Holy War’) against Christian communities in the Molucca Islands and Sulawesi. Over 600 churches have been destroyed since 1996.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The imposition of Islamic Sharia law in more than 10 states has caused thousands of Christians to flee, and has exacerbated differences between the predominantly Christian south and the Islamic north.

North Korea
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Over 100,000 people, including many Christians, are believed to be imprisoned in North Korea’s barbaric death camps. The brutal dictatorship of Kim Jong Il suppresses all religious activities, and imposes a personality cult based around the ‘Great Leader’.

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Pakistan’s poorly-drafted 295c blasphemy laws, which carry the death penalty for ‘blaspheming Mohammed’, have been misused against Christians and other minorities. Militant Muslims are increasingly attacking churches and Christian organizations.

Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Famine and the long-running civil war between the Muslim North and Christian/animist South have led to over two million deaths in the last two decades. Thousands of Southern Sudanese have been literally enslaved after being seized in government raids.

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
The church was initially persecuted by the Communist regime of Fidel Castro, when church leaders were sent to labour camps. Christians now enjoy greater freedom, although house churches are still subject to repression.

Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Pastors have been targeted by guerrilla movements such as FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), with 400 churches being forced to close in areas under the control of armed groups. Christians have also been killed for speaking out against violence and the widespread drug trade.

Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Anyone converting to Christianity can face charges of treachery and illegal contact with foreign missions. A small Moroccan church is emerging, estimated to number some 500 indigenous believers in 2000.

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion, and conversion from Islam is strictly forbidden. The Catholic Church is the only recognised religious group outside of Islam. Sharia law is intermittently applied.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
In recent years Christians have been attacked by the Islamic Salvation Front, and Islamic fundamentalists are pushing for the implementation of Sharia law.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Sunni Islam is the state religion, but secular influences are strong. There are very few Libyan Christian believers. There is a limit of one church per denomination per city.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The constitution gives preference to Muslims, and Christians are often treated as second-class citizens, denied political representation and discriminated against in employment. The Egyptian Coptic Church is by far the largest body of Christians in the Middle East.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
The small Somali church has been driven underground, and exists mainly in the south. A number of believers have been martyred, others have been publicly named as targets for execution.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
The Christian Population has declined from 22 per cent in 1900 to 0.32 per cent today. There is increasing openness by the government to recognise Turkey as a multi-cultural, multi-religious country. Periodic acts of violence against non-Muslim institutions.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Christian minorities are tolerated and have freedom to worship and witness within their own community, but all activities that could threaten the government or communal harmony are carefully watched.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Christians are free to live and work in Kuwait, but must worship in a recognized location. Evangelism to Kuwaitis is forbidden.

Saudi Arabia
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Saudi Arabia is the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. Any citizen who converts from Islam to another religion faces the death penalty. Islamic Sharia law is the main source of legislation.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Criticism of the ruling family monarchy or Islam is a crime. However expatriate believers are allowed to practice their faith.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
It is illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, and those Yemenis who do face many social pressures. Most Christians in the country are expatriates, many being Ethiopian refugees.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Churches and church activities for expatriates are allowed, but evangelism of Muslims is forbidden. There is a handful of indigenous believers.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion. Expatriate Christians, representing many different language groups, have freedom to worship and witness to their faith.

Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Shi’a Islam is the state religion. Conversion from Islam to another faith is a capital crime. There is a ban on the printing of all Christian literature, and constant surveillance of churches and those who attend them.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, members of underground churches are struggling to practice their faith. The Christian community is largely Assyrian, with some Armenians. About one-third of all Christians fled Iraq in the 1990s.

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Religious Freedom Rating: 4-7 (7 is worst)
The CIS comprises Russia and 11 other republics that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Christians face harassment and repression from both old-guard Communists, and Islamic militants.

Religious Freedom Rating: na (7 is worst)
Public persecution of Christians has once again emerged, and Christians still face constant harassment from militant Muslims.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
Militant Hindus are targeting Christians with hostile propaganda and violence; while Maoist guerrillas, who control one-fifth of the country, have also attacked Christians.

Religious Freedom Rating: 5 (7 is worst)
States such as Orissa and Gujarat have been racked by violence as radical Hindus have attacked Christian communities. Six Indian states have passed anti-conversion laws that impose prison terms and fines against anyone using force, fraud or allurement to convert another.

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
Islam is the state religion, and radical Muslims are pushing for the introduction of full Islamic Sharia law. Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have all experienced religious discrimination and attacks by militant Muslims.

Sri Lanka
Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Buddhism is given the ‘foremost place’ in the Constitution. Militant Buddhists have increasingly instigated mob violence against evangelical Christians in rural areas. 65 churches were attacked in 2003.

Religious Freedom Rating: 6 (7 is worst)
All public worship and evangelism by non-Buddhists is illegal. The king wields absolute power, and there are no legal guarantees on freedom of religion.

Burma (Myanmar)
Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
The State Peace and Development Council attempts to control every religious activity. All gatherings of five or more people are illegal. Ethnic minorities, such as the Karen, have been targets of repression.

Religious Freedom Rating: 4 (7 is worst)
Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom, fundamentalist Muslims do everything in their power politically to inhibit Christian evangelism. Ethnic Malays are not allowed to have a Christian place of worship.

Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
Communist leaders in some districts have implemented a program called ‘New Mechanism’ in which anyone who does not convert to Buddhism or animism is forcibly removed from their district. Christian villagers have been forced to sign documents renouncing their faith.

Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
Evangelical Christians have come under increasing pressure. Only four religious groups are allowed to hold public meetings: Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox and Lutheran. Evangelical Christians have been imprisoned.

Religious Freedom Rating: n/a (7 is worst)
This popular holiday destination in the Indian Ocean hides a repressive regime. Free speech is not respected for the press or non-Muslim religions. In 1998 all known Maldivian Christians were arrested.

Religious Freedom Rating: 7 (7 is worst)
Christians find themselves caught between pressure from both Buddhism and Chinese communism. In 1999 the Chinese Communist Party in Lhasa decreed that atheism is necessary to promote economic development in the region, and to assist the struggle against the Dalai Lama (who fled in 1959).

Most Western Christians truly have NO IDEA what life has been like for some Christians in other areas of the world.

The following extraordinary story of Christian persecution is from The Voice Of The Martyrs:


Pastor Florescu couldn’t bear to watch his son being beaten by the Communist officers. He had already been beaten himself, and he had not slept for two weeks for fear of being attacked by the starving rats the Communists had forced into his prison cell. The Romanian police wanted Florescu to give up other members of his underground church so that they, too, could be captured.

Seeing that the beatings and torture weren’t working, the Communists brought in Florescu’s son Alexander, only fourteen years old, and began to beat the boy. While Florescu watched, they hammered his son’s body unmercifully, telling the pastor that they would beat his son to death unless he told them the locations of other believers.

Finally, half mad, Florescu screamed for them to stop.

“Alexander, I must say what they want!” he called out to his son. “I can’t bear your beatings anymore.”

His body bruised, blood running from his nose and mouth, Alexander looked his father in the eye. “Father, don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. Stand strong! If they kill me, I will die with the word Jesus on my lips.”

The boy’s courage enraged the Communist guards, and they beat him to death as his father watched. Not only did he hold on to his faith, he helped his father do the same.


But perhaps you don’t think it could happen in the United States?

Just check out this stunning footage of a mob assaulting a Christian woman and stomping on a cross:

Sometimes the persecution is more subtle. A federal judge has ruled that the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks teach that God created the world. Is that not intense pressure on Christian high schools in California to compromise on their beliefs?

So what should we make of this?

Should we be surprised at this persecution?

The truth is that we should expect persecution.

In John 15:18, Jesus told us that those who believe in Him would be hated…..

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

The reality is that we are in the world but we are not of the world.

Our home is with the Lord, and while we are here we are in a battle to rescue as many lost souls as we can.

We have had freedom to preach the gospel in the western world for a long time, but that window of freedom is stating to close.  Persecution is coming, so if you are a Christian you need to get prepared.